Analysts believe Patrick Drahi will take a seat on the board of BT by buying Deutsche Telekom’s stake in the group
Patrick Drahi will take a seat on the board of BT by buying Deutsche Telekom’s stake in the group, analysts believe.
The French billionaire owns a 12.1 per cent stake in the British telecoms giant through his firm Altice.
When he bought the stake in June he ruled out making a full takeover offer.
Signing on: It is thought Patrick Drahi will buy the 12 per cent owned by German giant Deutsche Telekom and take its seat on the BT board
Under City rules, that meant he could not buy any more shares for six months.
The freeze ends a week today – on December 11 – when Drahi will be able to make his next move.
It is thought he will buy the 12 per cent owned by German giant Deutsche Telekom and take its seat on the BT board.
He would join alongside chairman Adam Crozier, the former boss of Royal Mail and ITV who started on Wednesday.
Carl Murdock-Smith, telecoms analyst at investment bank Berenberg, said a full-blown takeover is unlikely because of BT’s status as a ‘strategic asset’.
He said the Government was likely to intervene in any such move. He said: ‘I do not think Drahi will try to bid for BT overall because he will recognise those issues and recognise that he would not succeed. He will realise the political sensitivities around this.’
The end of Drahi’s tie-up comes amid a flurry of takeover speculation around BT.
AJ Bell financial analyst Danni Hewson said private equity firms are waking up to the idea there is ‘money to be made’ in telecoms.
She said: ‘When Altice took on a 12 per cent stake of BT in the summer everyone sat up and took notice.’